By PETER OKUTU, Abakaliki
BUT for the timely intervention of men of the Ebonyi State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, a suspected serial rapist, Mr. Peter Edigbo, 64, would have been lynched by members of Agbaenyim community in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State last weekend. The suspect was later arrested by the Command’s division in Izzi Local Government Area for allegedly raping a six-year-old girl, Miss Nkwegu Chinwe, at midnight when the victim was asleep in her house.
Vanguard Metro, VM, gathered that the suspect sneaked into the little girl’s room and allegedly forcefully had carnal knowledge of his victim. According to a resident, the screaming of the girl had attracted members of the community who rushed to the house without knowing what was initially happening but discovered that the victim’s screaming was as a result of the immoral behaviour of the suspect.
Incidences of criminality
In a chat with VM, the State Commandant of the Corps in Abakaliki, Mrs. Ego Echendu, who described the incident as abominable charged parents to always keep their eyes on their children at every point in time. She expressed the readiness of the Command to clamp down on incidences of crime and criminality throughout the state as NSCDC was fully positioned in the 13 local government areas to nip any act of criminality in the bud.
Parading the 64-year-old suspect before newsmen at the Command Headquarters in Abakaliki, the Corps Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent of Corps, ASC, Emmanuel Nwali, stated that the incident which angered members of the community was also confirmed by women on examining the little girl after the incident. According to him, this confirmation enraged the villagers who wanted to lynched the suspect because that was not the first time he had committed such act. VM learnt that the suspect’s wife had left him as similar past action on his part had brought shame and embarrassments to their marriage.
Nwali noted that the suspect had been notorious for such act as confirmed by the village Head and other members of the community.
According to the Command’s spokesman: “Yesterday at about 6pm we received a signal from one of our divisions in Izzi that an old man defiled a girl of six years old. When we got the report we told them to transfer the matter to our command headquarters in Abakaliki so that we will handle it appropriately. So far we are still investigating the case and after that we are going to hand over the case to the appropriate quarters because that is not one of our core mandates as NSCDC.
“The suspect, Mr. Peter Edigbo, hails from Agbaenyim in Izzi LGA of the state. The village head and villagers, among others, confirmed the incident, adding that the man has been in such act for quite some time despite warnings from community members. And if not for the timely intervention of our men the man would have been lynched. The only thing, according to the victim, she noticed when she was sleeping at midnight period was a hard thing inside her body. This is the second time such thing is happening in the village by the same man”.
Reacting to the incident, the grandmother of the victim, Mrs. Mary Nwofoke, who spoke in her local dialect added that: “I told Chinwe and the other children that when they were ready to go to sleep, they should alert me so that I will come and lock the door but they forgot and slept off. And so because the door was not locked that gave the rapist the opportunity to sneak into the room and forced himself on the girl.
“The child woke up and was screaming and calling me. So when I ran into the room, the man ran out immediately. I asked the little what happened and in her own naivety, she said ‘the man urinated on me’; so when I heard this I raised alarm and the matter was brought before the village Council. If not for the intervention of the Civil Defence Corps, the man would have been burnt to death. Another lady who came when the alarm was raised also said the man had raped her before,” she stressed.